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Judith Fitzgerald carrying the torch through New Liskeard, ON.
Judith Fitzgerald carrying the torch through New Liskeard, ON.

The Tuesday Essay

Torch 'n' glow (or touch 'n' go) Add to ...

"Okay, I'll do it. What do you think about me writing a poem? You think Jack'll throw in extra jus and that great veggie medley he makes?"

"No comment," she responds, "and, besides, I'm not involved in that whole thing and have no idea who is. You're on your own."

"What do you mean, 'I'm on my own?' I enter the contest. You deliver the dinner for two from Jack Tennant's. He does Take-Out for me when I can afford it; and, he's really nice."

"Listen. You're getting waaay ahead of yourself. I wash my hands of any involvement in this. I have no advice to give you. Too risky. Now, if you want to talk about banking issues, I'm available . . . You know you're my favourite BFF, client and poet, though, don't you?"

"Of course, I do. Or, I am? Cool. I should do this more often. I get lots of love. And, dinner! Ten-four. Je t'adore! I see your point of view. I'll figure out something. Thanks for nothing. LOL."

"Have a g-r-r-r-eat day! Good luck! LOL!"

"Yeah, you have a great day, too," I say to Rudolph IV. "Whatever she says. How can I have a g-r-r-r-eat day when I not only have to pay those bills over at the banking portal; now, I also have to write the kind of poem that proves to my BFF slash bank manager she's right, that I can ace it and win this Torch swing-thing?"

Argh! I pay the bills, just; and, then, I walk over to the window and the muck still squish-muddles so I return to Rudy My Computie and the RBC entry form; and? When it comes time for me to fill in my pledge, from God knows where (since I don't), the poem - doggerella, really - just falls off my fingertips, right royally divinely inspired, I guess. I call it, "Create a Better Canada," because that's the category I enter - duh:

I would like to stand up and allow my poetic voice to be heard; w hen it comes to artistic expression, He gave me the gift of The Word. Athletes compete, that's their beautiful domain; But the arts keep us civilized; that's why I sign my name.

Natch, I promptly forget about entering the contest. I have small steps to take. Words to shape. Mud to check. Trees to scope. Lilac to blooming ogle. But, you know, to tell you the truth, I love entering contests. I enter all of them. Well, almost all of them. I don't enter any that mean I get junk mail or spam. I read the rules, the fine print. I always take that check mark out of that box. I have enough clutter. I do not need one iota more of it. I rarely receive spam. Just lucky, I guess.

"Don't make any plans for December 31st!"

That's the Subject Line on an e-mail arriving in my inbox. Darn. Spam . . . I think . . . I check the Sender: Admin@CarryTheTorch.com. I note its size and the fact there's an attachment. Oh, dear. I don't know. Is it spam or is it from the Olympic Torch Bearers' Committee confirming they've received my application, one of a million? I ain't opening that attachment, though, nope; at least, I ain't opening it until I've run it through my virus-scanner and stuff.

I take a deep breath. I position the cursor on the message. READY. AIM. CLICK!

"Dear Judith: Exciting news! You have been preselected in the first draw of the RBC Carry the Torch Contest! Thank you for pledging to create a better Canada. Big or small, everything you do makes a difference. Congratulations! YOUR OLYMPIC TORCHBEARER EXPERIENCE BEGINS TODAY!"

Oh, Lard! Er, huh? Who told them I was small? (Five feet, to be exact; no shrinkage even though I'm 57, now; but, still, five feet!) Or, did they think the poem was too small? OMGasp, what was the poem? That was months ago! OMGawd, this can't be for real! I never win anything. I have to ask my other BFF, my Southern one, Lenore in Windsor. I forward the e-mail to her. I ask her to tell me if I win. Actually, I forward it to everybody I know because I have to answer a skill-testing mathematical question with brackets and stuff and I am worried about getting the answer right. That would be just my luck. I'd finally win something and blow the math since I'm an Anguish major. I do the math. I send the answer around. (Well, that was after I asked Lenore's son, David [with his Stanford PhD] who gave me the same answer that I had already figured out on my own, FWIW . . . and, oh, I dunno, about a bijillion others, just to be sure, right?)

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